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Unoccupied homes


There’s no place like home, but from time to time we leave our house empty. It could be that you’re moving abroad for a few months for work, you’re taking a sabbatical to see the world, or a relative has died or gone into care.

Whilst a fortnight in Tenerife shouldn’t make a lot of difference to your home insurance policy, going away for a significant period of time could affect your home insurance.

Most home insurance policies will only insure an empty house for 1-2 months so before leaving, speak to your insurance provider to check that your home will still be covered while you’re away. You should also speak to your local council as you may be able to get a reduction in your council tax.

It’s not just burglars that you need to think about, but also floods, fire and damage. As well as keeping your house secure, you need to make sure that it is safe.

Top tips:

  • Ask a neighbour to pop in every few days to pick up post, water plants and check the house - they could also park their car on your driveway.
  • Put lights and a radio on a timer so that they come on in the evening and morning and make sure your security lighting is working to deter unwanted visitors.
  • Unplug electrical equipment to lower the risk of accident. If you’re away for the winter you may want to set your boiler to come on to avoid frozen pipes or drain your system completely.
  • Cancel any regular deliveries such as newspapers or milk or continue to have them delivered and let your neighbour enjoy them.
  • Cut the lawn just before you leave so it doesn’t get too long and unkempt or consider hiring a gardener while you are away.
  • Move all large valuables out of sight and lock up small items. Check garden tools are secure in the garage, shed or house. You could also store some of your items while you’re away.
  • Don’t tell too many people that you’re going away and leaving the house empty as you don’t want the wrong person taking advantage.
  • Only put your name and mobile number on your luggage tags so that your (unoccupied) home address isn’t visible.
  • Double check that all windows and doors are securely locked with keys out of site; also remove any spare keys from hiding places.
  • Consider renting your property out for a few months or getting a house sitter to live in your home while you’re away.

How can John Lewis Home Insurance help?

If you’re going away it’s important that you take precautions to leave your home as secure as possible while it’s unoccupied.

With John Lewis Home Insurance your property is not classified as unoccupied until it has been empty for 60 days, when exclusions apply.

Our Buildings and Contents Cover can financially protect your home and possessions.

Our Home Insurance also offers Worldwide Possessions Cover so wherever you are in the world, your belongings could be covered.

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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